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Partner Description:

The Paradigm Project (TPP) is a for-profit company that builds supply chains to deliver energy-efficient products to low-income families in developing countries like Kenya. Based in the U.S., the organization works with poor entrepreneurs to supply clean-burning cookstoves manufactured by innovative brands like Envirofit, Burn Design Lab and EzyStove.

Over 2.5 billion people in the developing world burn charcoal or use open fires to cook their food, leading to nearly 4 million deaths each year from exposure to indoor air pollution. In addition to the adverse health effects, open fires are incredibly inefficient, leading to high consumption of wood and charcoal and contributing to deforestation in countries already burdened by a changing climate and limited natural resources. Finally, buying wood or charcoal places a heavy financial burden on families who spend up to 35% of their household income on cooking fuel.

In Kenya, TPP works with local entrepreneurs and community organizations to sell high-efficiency cookstoves to consumers in the country’s lowest income brackets. Additionally, the company is working to expand its supply chain to include solar lights, water filtration products and agricultural inputs like organic fertilizers, creating additional income-generating opportunities for entrepreneurs and providing additional benefits to consumers who need these technologies.

Traditionally, clean cookstove programs have used small-scale local manufacturing and local materials to offer products that are low quality with an average cost of US$3. In contrast, TPP offers consumers superior, more durable products made through centralized local and international manufacturing chains with strong aesthetic appeal that are sold at a higher cost -- $15 on average.

Kiva lenders’ funds are used by TPP to offer low-interest loans to retailers interested in purchasing high-quality, high-efficiency cookstoves. Additionally, these funds help the organization decrease its interest rates on loan products, enabling more customers to access credit for stoves.

A unique lending approach:

Currently, TPP is working on a wood stove program throughout rural Kenya. It targets low income (US$1.25 to $2.25 per day) families that are cooking with environmentally-damaging and unhealthy stoves. The organization sells improved stoves to its national network of distribution partners, who engage directly with consumers. This helps accelerate adoption in remote and low-income communities.

Two categories of TPP distributors are eligible for Kiva financing: Last Mile Entrepreneurs (LMEs) and aggregators. LMEs are low-income female clients that start small door-to-door sales businesses, selling stoves on a cash or layaway basis. They make additional income for themselves in the process. Aggregators are established institutions in Kenya that engage directly with female consumers and offer low-cost financing for purchasing stoves.  

A Kenyan TPP client cooking her meal on an energy efficient cookstove.

To date, TPP has sold over 60,000 cookstoves in Kenya, impacting the lives of more than 300,000 people and preventing over 120,000 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Additionally, the project has helped families collectively save over $3 million by replacing wood and charcoal fires with energy-efficient stoves. The organization also employs over 80 LMEs and is working with several aggregators throughout Kenya.

For its efforts, TPP was named the most promising social enterprise in America in 2012 by Bloomberg/BusinessWeek.

Watch this short video about The Paradigm Project’s work and impact:

The Paradigm Project joined Kiva through our Experimental Partnership Program, and has therefore received a lighter level of due diligence. Accordingly, loans associated with this partner carry a higher level of risk than typical Kiva loans.

Media courtesy of The Paradigm Project.

Repayment Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Start Date On Kiva Mar 1, 2013 Oct 12, 2005
Total Loans $35,625 $677,594,900
Amount of raised Inactive loans $0 $441,650
Number of raised Inactive loans 0 278
Amount of Paying Back Loans $0 $129,294,850
Number of Paying Back Loans 0 143,177
Amount of Ended Loans $35,625 $547,858,400
Number of Ended Loans 6 684,067
Delinquency Rate 0.00% 6.96%
Amount in Arrears $0 $5,860,223
Outstanding Portfolio $0 $84,153,104
Number of Loans Delinquent 0 22,128
Default Rate 0.00% 1.11%
Amount of Ended Loans Defaulted $0 $6,104,406
Amount of Ended Loans $35,625 $547,858,400
Number of Ended Loans Defaulted 0 18,783
Currency Exchange Loss Rate 0.00% 0.19%
Amount of Currency Exchange Loss $0 $1,320,899
Refund Rate 8.70% 0.70%
Amount of Refunded Loans $3,100 $4,723,750
Number of Refunded Loans 1 5,242

Loan Characteristics On Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Loans to Women Borrowers 42.86% 74.24%
Average Loan Size $5,532 $417
Average Individual Loan Size $5,532 $656
Average Group Loan Size $0 $1,839
Average number of borrowers per group 0 8
Average GDP per capita (PPP) in local country $1,800 $3,381
Average Loan Size / GDP per capita (PPP) 307.34% 12.32%
Average Time to Fund a Loan 2.99 days 6.09 days
Average Dollars Raised Per Day Per Loan $1,851.16 $68.46
  Average Loan Term 4.29 months 10.65 months

Journaling Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Total Journals 8 334,543
  Journaling Rate 83.33% 41.63%
  Average Number of Comments Per Journal 0.00 0.07
  Average Number of Recommendations Per Journal 0.00 1.66

Borrowing Cost Comparison (based on 2011 data)

    This Field Partner Median for MFI's in Country All Kiva Partners
  Average Cost to Borrower 8% APR 36.00% PY 32.07% PY
  Profitability (return on assets) N/A 0.5% -1.94%
  Average Loan Size (% of per capita income) N/A 56.00% 19.61%

Country Fast Facts

Field Partner Staff

David Barber
David Barber
Neil Bellefeuille
Nele Groosman
Jonathan Jakubowski
Johanna Matocha